PPS’ Highlights Shadow’s SuperSensory Literacy Space

One of PPS’ top three priorities is ensuring that all students read well by the end of third grade. The PPS Read Together initiative has brought together six reading and family organizations–one of which is The Shadow Project–to provide students at five pilot schools with intensive, wrap-around literacy services.

“The SuperSensory Literacy Spaces created by The Shadow Project make literacy more accessible for our students with learning challenges,” said Portland Public Schools (PPS) Superintendent Carole Smith. “I’m thankful The Shadow Project is part of our Read Together initiative.”

Watch PPS’ video of its first SuperSensory Literacy Space, created by The Shadow Project.

December 2014 Newsletter

“Mom, I’m Famous!”


Shadow Kids are Reading Stars


“Mom! I’m famous!” That’s how 4th grader Caelen Ough responded when he saw himself online as The Shadow Project’s first Reading Star! Caelen and his mom Kedma kicked off our Reading Stars initiative, which celebrates the reading progress of Shadow kids. (You may remember Caelen, who raised money to buy an IPad for his special education classroom last year.) Parents, we invite you to send a photo or short video of your child or your family reading together to shadow@shadow-project.org and we’ll post it our Facebook page. Parents can interview their child or simply have them describe a favorite book, character, or a triumph in reading progress.

Read Caelen’s interview


New Research Helps Our Students Turn Struggle into Success


Students in The Shadow Project are learning not to fear failure. Our teachers help students cultivate “growth mindset”, what cutting-edge research has identified as a key to motivation and achievement. Children with a growth mindset believe that their intelligence and ability grows through struggle, even failure – powerful news for students with disabilities, whose greatest risk is giving up. Students at Marysville School drew pictures of growth mindset, displaying their artwork in the hallways to share with classmates. Shadow provides teachers lesson plans and other materials on growth mindset and focused our most recent Professional Development seminar on the topic.

Learn more about this exciting new research


Doubling Your Impact


We’re honored to be chosen a fourth consecutive year for the Willamette Week Give!Guide, which runs through Dec. 31. The Shadow Project is our community’s only nonprofit that teams with special education teachers to close the achievement gap, and we’re counting on you to help us reach our goal of raising $20,000 to help students unleash their potential for learning. The Vibrant Village Foundation will match your gift of $50 or more, through G!G, doubling your impact.

Help us equip students for success


Shadow Book Wins Award


The Boy Who Learned Upside Down has received the 2014 KART Kids Book List Award. Boy is based on the courageous journey of a Portland boy with learning disabilities who turned “I can’t” into “I CAN!” The KART (Kids are Readers Too) Foundation, which receives 2,000 nominations annually, selected 19 titles for its 2014 book list. The Foundation promotes and implements children’s literacy programs and provides programming in over 115 countries. Boy was written by Shadow Project founder and executive director Christy Scattarella and illustrated by Winky Wheeler.

Learn more about the book


PetSmart Supports The Shadow Project!


Thanks to the generosity of PetSmart and its customers, The Shadow Project’s 1,500 children are receiving new stuffed animals. We’ve been pairing each donated Lucky & Chance animal with a dog or cat book to engage struggling readers.

Learn more about making reading cozy

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Oregon Cultural Trust Member • Portland’s Making a Difference Award in Education

The Shadow Project
Toll free: 1-888-747-0005
Email: Shadow@shadow-project.org


October 2014 Newsletter

Shadow Students Set Goals for 2014!


A Message from The Shadow Project’s Board President


Just like the children we serve, The Shadow Project is growing, evolving and achieving goals that once seemed impossible. The Shadow Project was founded in 1997 when a mother realized that with some extra encouragement, her son, struggling in school because of his learning disabilities, could become a courageous learner. The volunteer-run program started with 40 kids in two Portland classrooms and grew organically over the years. But we knew that we could do more.

Read more from Board President Megan Leftwich


Building a Culture of Literacy


The Shadow Project is proud to be a nonprofit partner chosen for Portland Public Schools’ Action Research Partnership, which launched last month in five high needs schools. The goal is to ensure that all children read proficiently by the end of 3rd grade, which dramatically increases their likelihood of high school graduation. At an August kick-off event at Rosa Parks School, Shadow staff encouraged students to write their goals and accomplishments, and post them in the cafeteria for all to see. Through this early literacy partnership, Shadow is teaming with special education teachers and speech language pathologist to help 275 struggling students to unleash their potential for learning.

Read more about our new services to engage students


PSU Vikings + Shadow Students = Score!


Every kid has a hero. The students at Marysville School had the opportunity to hang out with theirs when 60 players from the PSU Vikings football team descended on the school to set goals with students in The Shadow Project and their peers. This was the third and LARGEST visit from the team that began last year, thanks to Shadow Project’s sponsor MassMutual. Check out our exciting footage of the event. The players, several of whom have ADHD and related conditions, shared their stories of struggle and success, building great connections with our kids along the way.

Read more about Shadow’s plan to expand its Role Model program


Thank You for Making a Difference


We are grateful for our generous contributors: Vibrant Village Foundation’s second year of support is continuing to transform our program and expand to additional high needs schools. The Nike Employee Grant Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation is funding a new role model program that brings our special education students face to face with teenagers like them who are on track to graduate. Safeco Insurance, through its Education Initiative, has awarded Shadow a fourth consecutive year of operating support. And Target, through its Early Childhood Reading Grant, is making it possible for us to provide our unique Reading Kits at upcoming Family Literacy Nights.

Read more about these recent supporters

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City of Portland's "Making a Difference" Award in Education

The Shadow Project
Toll free: 1-888-747-0005
Email: Shadow@shadow-project.org


The Boy Who Learned Upside Down

Written by Christy Scattarella
Illustrated by Winky Wheeler

Black Heron Press, 2014

Available at Powells.com and Amazon.com. Proceeds benefit children with learning challenges in The Shadow Project.

The Boy Who Learned Upside DownRed correction marks cover his book report like chickenpox. Letters turn cartwheels across the page when he tries to read. No wonder Alex is ready to give up! But with help from his special education teacher and his loyal dog Shadow, Alex changes his mind about school—and himself.

The Boy Who Learned Upside Down is based on the true story of one child’s courageous journey to success in the classroom. The story has inspired many other youngsters and led to the creation of The Shadow Project.

With humor and empathy, Boy offers hope to any struggling student who has wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” and reminds us all to celebrate the differences that make us unique.

Rated five stars by KART Kids Book Reviews!

“I love it! This book is easy for me to recommend to young readers and teachers. We desperately need more books about this subject, especially ones that are so captivating and well-written.”
– Brianne Williams, Children’s Librarian

“This exciting, real-life story of a boy’s brave journey of determination is sure to interest and inspire any child who experiences difficulty with reading. The Boy Who Learned Upside Down is also a good book for siblings and classmates of reading-challenged children, as it graphically describes what it’s like to overcome obstacles when learning to read and to spell.”

April 2014 Newsletter

April 2014 Newsletter

“C” is for Courage!


Shadow Book Inspires Lessons in Courage

Courage isn’t just for superheroes. Our teacher have been reading the new children’s book, The Boy Who Learned Upside Down and building lesson plans that help struggling students identify themselves as courageous learners. Check out our short video from the Peninsula School book launch in NE Portland, where Melody Finamori’s students drew cartoon strips of themselves being courageous. Boy is based on the real-life story of one child’s courageous journey from “I can’t” to “I CAN!” that led to the creation of The Shadow Project.

Read more on our website

Shadow Student Raises Funds for Class iPad

When 9-year-old Caelen Ough decided his fellow students in The Shadow Project at Duniway Elementary’s special education program needed an iPad he created a video and posted it on a fundraising website. Within a week, Caelen had raised $615 from 15 donors (exceeding his goal by $15). “The iPad can help kids with disabilities learn new things, read books and play games like chess,” said Caelen, who got the idea by studying the iPad in his mainstream classroom.

Read more on our website!

Special Education teacher Janice Holstine joins Shadow’s board

We were happy to welcome Janice Holstine to our Shadow Project board of directors. Janice has been a special education teacher at Marysville School for three years and uses Shadow in her classroom. Janice says “I am so excited about how this program helps teachers provide resources to nurture and support the growth of students who may have given up.” At Marysville, she also serves on the Equity Team, a Portland Public Schools effort to encourage “Courageous Conversations” regarding equity for children from racial and ethnic minorities.

Read more about Janice and her background!

Thank You for Making a Difference

We are so grateful to The Collins Foundation, which awarded Shadow a $36,000 grant over two years to help transform The Shadow Project’s program delivery model to improve educational outcomes for children with learning differences; and to the Meyer Memorial Trust, which awarded Shadow $40,000 over two years for operating support. Meyer works with and invests in organizations, communities, ideas and efforts that contribute to a flourishing and equitable Oregon.

Read more about these recent supporters

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City of Portland’s “Making a Difference” Award in Education

The Shadow Project

Toll free: 1-888-747-0005

Email: Shadow@shadow-project.org